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UDK: 637.5ʼ65:664.

meat technology ID: 278313996
Founder and publisher: Institute of Meat Hygiene and Technology, Belgrade https://doi.org/10.18485/meattech.2019.60.1.1

Original scientific paper

Reduction of microbiota in marinated

vacuum-packaged poultry breast fillets
Jelena Janjic1*, Jelena Ciric2, Slaven Grbic3, Marija Boskovic1, Milica Glisic1, Radmila Mitrovic2,
Adriana Radosavac4, Milan Z. Baltic1
A b s t r a c t: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different marinade solution on the microbiome of chicken breast
fillets packaged under vacuum and stored at 4°C. Three types of marinade were tested. A total of 120 chicken breast fillets were mari-
nated in control (6% NaCl) or three different marinades: 6% NaCl and 2% sodium tripolyphosphate; 6% NaCl and 2% sodium citrate,
and; 6% NaCl, 1% sodium tripolyphosphate and 1% sodium citrate. Microorganisms were enumerated on the first day of testing (day
0) and on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 of chilled storage. Marination resulted in significant differences (p<0.05) in the numbers of total viable
counts, Enterobacteriaceae, lactic acid bacteria and anaerobic bacteria counts. The combination of 6% NaCl and 2% sodium citrate
is the most appropriate marinade option for reducing the growth of the examined bacterial groups in vacuum-packaged marinated
chicken breast fillets during chilled storage.
Keywords: poultry meat, shelf life, spoilage bacteria, storage conditions.

Introduction chicken meat products (Petracci et al., 2014; Kim et

al., 2015; Mathew et al., 2016).
Spoilage of meat occurs as a consequence of The need for fresh food suitable for supply to
the growth and metabolic activities of spoilage bac- distant markets has increased the interest in proce-
teria. During meat storage, the dominant microbiota dures for extending the shelf-life of meat and meat
can cause product deterioration and release of vol- products. Obviously, this time should include not
atile compounds or formation of slime, resulting in only the time needed to reach the markets but an
a product unacceptable for human consumption The additional period encompassing retail refrigerated
presence and growth of bacterial contaminants oc- storage and then storage at the consumer’s home,
curring in poultry meat depend on different practic- as product could be used some days after purchase.
es that are using for ensuring microbial quality, such Therefore, this issue has become a great challenge
as duration and temperature of storage, composi- to chicken producers. Chicken is a highly perisha-
tion of marinade and gas composition used for stor- ble food, and the time it takes to deteriorate varies
age under modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) from 4 to about 10 days after slaughter, in spite of
or vacuum packaging (Kreyenschmidt et al., 2010; it being stored under chill systems (Marenzi, 1986).
Baltic et al., 2015; Rouger et al., 2017). Deterioration depends on the microbiological qual-
Many studies show the influence of marina- ity of the poultry carcasses, which is a direct reflec-
tion on tenderness, texture, moisture, water-hold- tion of sanitation during slaughtering and handling
ing capacity, oxidative stability and yields of poul- practices. Chicken and other types of poultry have
try breast. Due to the increasing need of consumers higher pathogenic and spoilage bacterial counts than
to maintain the freshness of chicken for as long a almost any other food (Snyder, 1998). However,
period of time, both in store and in households, it marinade treatments and vacuum packaging can
is necessary to control the bacterial microbiota in have benefits with respect to the shelf-life, sensory

University of Belgrade, Faculty of veterinary medicine, Bulevar Oslobodjenja 18, 11 000 Belgrade, Serbia;
Institute for Meat Hygiene and Technology, Belgrade, Kacanskog 13, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia;
3Pan-European University Apeiron, Faculty of Health Sciences, Pere Krece 13, 78000 Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and

4Faculty of Applied Management, Economics and Finance (MEF), Jevrejska Street no. 24/1,11000 Belgrade, Serbia.

*Corresponding Author: Janjic Jelena, jeckonbg@gmail.com

Jelena Janjic et al. Reduction of microbiota in marinated vacuum-packaged poultry breast fillets

characteristics and quality attributes of chicken meat 25°C for 3 days in an anaerobic jar (Merck) with an
(Buses and Thompson, 2003; Piñon et al., 2015). anaerobic generating gas pack (Merck). The colony
Storage temperature and type of packaging are se- forming units per gram (CFU/g) on duplicate count-
lective for different bacterial populations. able plates were averaged to determine bacterial
The aim of this study was to determine the ef- counts for each fillet and expressed as logarithms.
fect of different marinades on the microbiome of
skinless chicken breast fillets packaged under vacu- Statistical analysis
um and stored at 4°C.
For statistical analysis, all logarithms of bac-
terial counts were expressed as mean±standard de-
Materials and Methods viation (SD). Statistical analysis of the results ob-
tained was conducted using Microsoft Office Excel
Chicken breast fillets and marinades 2010 and GraphPad Prism software, version 7.00
for Windows (GraphPad Software, San Diego,
A total of 120 chicken breasts fillets, with- California USA, www.graphpad.com). The effects
out skin, approximately 0.1 kg each, were obtained of marination treatment were compared between
from a local slaughterhouse. They were taken from days, and also different marinade treatments were
the production line and transported under refrigera- compared on the same testing day, using one-fac-
tion to the laboratory within a few hours. tor analysis of variance (ANOVA). Statistical signif-
Skinless breasts fillets were divided into four icance was at the level of p<0.05. Bacterial count
groups. Control, (C) fillets were marinated in a 6% trends for TVC, Enterobacteriaceae, LAB and an-
NaCl solution. E1 fillets were marinated in 6% NaCl aerobic bacteria during the storage period are pre-
+ 2% sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) (Merck). E2 sented graphically (Microsoft Office, Excel, 2010).
fillets were marinated in 6% NaCl + 2% sodium cit-
rate (Merck). E3 fillets were marinated in 6% NaCl,
1% STP and 1% sodium citrate. The chicken meat Results and Discussion
weight-to-marinade volume ratio was 1:2. After five
hours of marinating, fillets were individually vacu- TVCs on the chicken fillets increased dur-
um-packaged in plastic bags. The air was removed ing the storage time in all marinade treatments, ex-
from the bags and they were then heat-sealed. cept E2. The highest TVCs were in C and E1 fil-
Vacuum-packaged chicken breast fillets were stored lets (7.03 log CFU/g, 6.94 log CFU/g, P > 0.05,
at 4°C. On each sampling day (days 0, 7, 14, 21 respectively) (Fig. 1). However, the number of
and 28 of storage), three packages from each treat- TVC was significantly lower (P > 0.05) in E2 fil-
ment were randomly selected analysed for total vi- lets than in the other marinade treatments on all
able counts (TVCs), Enterobacteriaceae, lactic days (0, 7, 14, 21, and 28) (Table 1). The highest
acid bacteria (LAB) and anaerobic bacteria counts. TVC (7.03±0.23 log CFU/g) was on day 28 in con-
Production of strong off-odours and unacceptable trol fillets (Table 1). Meat spoilage results in the
general aspects determined when to stop analysis. development of off-odours and slime formation,
making the meat unacceptable for human consump-
Microbiological analysis tion (Iulietto et al., 2015; Ercolini et al., 2006; Jay,
2000). According to many studies (Nychas et al.,
Chicken breasts were aseptically sampled on 2008; Buses and Thompson, 2003; Hollingsworth,
each sampling day by removing 10 g of fillet meat. 2000), off-odours in chicken meat develop when
The 10 g amounts were homogenised, subjected TVCs approach 7.2 to 8.0 log CFU/g, so our TVCs
to tenfold serial dilution in buffered peptone water were slightly lower than this on day 28, when we
(BPW) and analysed by surface plating. TVCs were decided the off-odour and appearance of the chick-
determined using plate count agar (PCA, Merck) en fillets were unacceptable.
after incubation at 30°C for 3 days. For counting The type of marinade and storage condi-
the number of Enterobacteriaceae, the pour-plate tions affected the decrease in the number of
method on violet red bile glucose (VRBG) agar Enterobacteriaceae during storage. Specifically,
(Merck) was used. Plates were incubated at 37°C significantly lower numbers of Enterobacteriaceae
for 24±2 hours. After plating on a suitable substrate, (2.70 log CFU/g, 2.64 log CFU/g, p<0.05, respec-
MRS Agar (Merck) and PCA (Merck), LAB and tively) were found in fillets marinated with 1% and
anaerobic bacteria, respectively, were incubated at 2% sodium citrate than in the other two marinades,

Meat Technology 60 (2019) 1, 1–7

y = 0.453x + 4.553
y = 0.659x + 3.569
log CFU/g
y = 0.653x + 2.883
y = 0.005x + 3.619
0 7 14 21 28
Time (d)

C E1 E2 E3

Figure 1. Total viable counts (log CFU/g) in control (C) and marinated (E1, E2 and E3) vacuum-packaged
skinless chicken breast fillets (n=120)

while the addition of 2% sodium citrate decreased Enterobacteriaceae are one of the potential bacteri-
the Enterobacteriaceae count by 0.85 log CFU/g al spoilage groups of poultry meat. However, the in-
by day 28 (Fig. 2, Table 1). Due to the inconsisten- volvement of these bacteria and their role in poultry
cy of these results, further tests should be conduct- meat spoilage is not completely clarified. Some mari-
ed to determine which marinade ingredients im- nade treatments effectively inhibited coliform growth
prove the reduction of Enterobacteriaceae counts. (Buses and Thompson, 2003). Nonetheless, different

y = 0.044x + 4.69

\ í[

y = 0.43[ + .6
log CFU/g 3

y = í.39x + 2.3
0 7 4 2 2
Time (d)

C ( E2 E3

Figure 2. Enterobacteriaceae counts (log CFU/g) in control (C) and marinated (E1, E2 and E3)
vacuum-packaged skinless chicken breast fillets (n=120)

Jelena Janjic et al. Reduction of microbiota in marinated vacuum-packaged poultry breast fillets

y = 0.044x + 4.69

\ í[

log CFU/g \ [


y = í[

0 7   
Time (d)

C ( ( E3

Figure 3. Lactic acid bacteria counts (log CFU/g) in control (C) and marinated (E1, E2 and E3)
vacuum-packaged skinless chicken breast fillets (n=120)

packaging types did not affect Enterobacteriaceae (stored at 4°C, 15 days) to 8.36 log CFU/g (stored at
counts (Rouger et al., 2017). The number of 4 to 10°C, 4 days). Also, Enterobacteriaceae were
Enterobacteriaceae on spoiled chicken meat varies not detected in spoiled poultry meat in some studies,
(Balamatsia et al., 2007; Doulgeraki et al., 2012; regardless of the duration and temperature of stor-
Zhang et al., 2012). Enterobacteriaceae numbers age (Al-Nehlawi et al., 2013; Chouliara et al., 2007;
on marinated poultry ranged from 6.0 log CFU/g Capita et al., 2013).

y = 0.453x + 4.553 y = 0.659x + 3.569

y = 0.653x + 2.883
log CFU/g 5

y = 0.005x + 3.619

0 7 14 21 28
Time (d)

C E1 E2 E3

Figure 4. Anaerobic bacterial counts (log CFU/g) in control (C) and marinated (E1, E2 and E3)
vacuum-packaged skinless chicken breast fillets (n=120)

Meat Technology 60 (2019) 1, 1–7

The LAB count increased during the storage of detected to 9.04 log CFU/g). Temperature of storage
chicken breast fillets in all marinade treatments, ex- and duration of study did not affect LAB numbers
cept in E2 fillets. The addition of 2% sodium citrate in numerous studies conducted on marinated chicken
inhibited LAB growth, and numbers ranged from (Doulgeraki et al., 2012; Zhang et al., 2012; Capita
2.33 to 2.90 log CFU/g during the storage (Fig. 3, et al., 2013; Krockel, 2013; Kalschne et al., 2014).
Table 1). Many previous studies show that any type Despite their positive effects, some species of LAB
of marination treatment, either alone or in combina- are the major spoilage bacteria in vacuum- and mod-
tion with other treatments such as vacuum packaging, ified atmosphere-packaged poultry meat.
influences the decrease of LAB (Piñon et al., 2015; Among the studied bacterial groups, the most
Oral et al., 2009; Skandamis et al., 2002; Nieminen significant increase detected in our chicken breast
et al., 2012). Rouger at al. (2017) stated that in dif- fillets was in the anaerobic bacteria, counts of which
ferent studies on poultry meat spoilage, the num- were higher than 7 log CFU/g at the end of stor-
ber of LAB varied in a very wide range (from not age, with the notable exception of E2 fillets (3.97

Table 1. Total viable count, Enterobacteriaceae count, lactic acid bacteria count and anaerobic
bacterial count (log CFU/g) (X±Sd) on marinated, vacuum-packaged chicken breast fillets
during chilled storage
C E1 E2 E3
Total viable counts (TVC)
day 0 3.40±0.19 ABCDa 4.61±0.76 ABCDab 4.04±0.18 ABC 3.66±0.33 ABCb
day 7 6.29±0.50 AEFGab 6.25±0.53 Acd 3.26±0.42 ADac 3.83±0.43 DEFbd
day 14 5.39±0.25 BEHa 5.64±0.24 BEbc 3.39±0.13 BEabd 4.95±0.54 ADGHcd
day 21 5.62±0.32 CFI 6.12±0.10 CF 3.57±0.25 C 5.86±0.27 BEG
day 28 7.03±0.23 DGHI 6.94±0.33 DEF 3.91±0.28 DE 5.91±0.20 CFH
day 0 4.16±0.43 ABabc 4.83±0.50 Aade 2.70±0.26 ABCDbd 2.64±0.13 ABce
day 7 5.71±0.13 Aabc 4.44±0.45 ade 1.01±0.04 AEbd 1.65±0.63 CDEce
day 14 4.19±0.32 ab 4.10±0.05 Acd 0.54±0.18 BEace 3.02±1.00 Cbde
day 21 5.63±0.50 Babc 4.72±0.42 ade 0.82±0.40 Cbdf 3.79±0.29 ADcef
day 28 4.42±0.22a 4.62±0.43bc 0.85±0.32 Dabd 3.76±0.69 BEcd
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB)
day 0 2.74±0.23 ABCD 2.98±0.55 AB 2.89±0.21 AB 2.52±0.15 ABC
day 7 4.62±0.46 AEFabc 2.89±0.18 CDad 2.33±0.30 ACDbd 2.44±0.21 DEFc
day 14 4.55±0.18 BGHabc 2.75±0.35 EFad 2.37±0.26 BEbe 3.56±0.56 ADGHcde
day 21 5.50±0.10 CEGabc 4.92±0.31 ACEad 2.85±0.43 Cbde 4.69±0.37 BEGIce
day 28 5.82±0.31 DFHab 4.97±0.39 BDFacd 2.90±0.17 DEbce 5.53±0.19 CFHIde
Anaerobic bacterial counts
day 0 3.11±0.19 ABCDa 3.97±0.55 ABCDabc 3.33±0.07 Ab 3.31±0.17 ABCc
day 7 5.49±0.38 AEFab 5.36±0.47 AEFGcd 2.91±0.32 BCDace 3.51±0.27 DEFbde
day 14 5.93±0.21 BGab 6.12±0.18 BEHcd 3.35±0.11 BEace 5.18±0.63 ADGHbde
day 21 6.38±0.65 CEHa 6.56±0.23 CFIb 3.59±0.32 Cabc 6.22±0.24 BEGIc
day 28 7.34±0.15 DFGHa 7.37±0.19 DGHIb 3.97±0.30 ADEabc 7.11±0.26 CFHIc
: Means in the same row with the same superscripts are different at p<0.05
a, b, c

: Means in the same column with the same superscripts are different at p<0.05
A, B, C

C – control fillets marinated in a 6% NaCl solution; E1 – fillets marinated in 6% NaCl + 2% sodium tripolyphosphate; E2 – fillets mar-
inated in 6% NaCl + 2% sodium citrate; E3 – fillets marinated in 6% NaCl, 1% sodium tripolyphosphate and 1% sodium citrate.

Jelena Janjic et al. Reduction of microbiota in marinated vacuum-packaged poultry breast fillets

log CFU/g on day 28) (Fig. 4, Table 1). On day 7 in Conclusion

all marinades, the anaerobic bacterial count was sig-
nificantly lower (p<0.05) than on other days. These Based on the microbiological data obtained,
results fully coincide with Piñon et al. (2015), who the combination of 6% NaCl and 2% sodium cit-
used ultrasound treatment combined with orega- rate is the most appropriate marinade option for re-
no oil marinade to study the microbiota of poultry ducing the growth of the examined bacterial groups
breast meat. The anaerobic bacteria present in poul- in vacuum-packaged marinated chicken breast fil-
try meat are responsible for the production of large lets during chilled storage. Further studies should
quantities of gases (H2 and CO2), which can cause be conducted to determine the best composition of
deformation of the vacuum packaged meat due to marinade to reduce the microbiota present in poultry
their accumulation, putrid odours, the presence of meat. Also it is important to establish what type of
exudates, extensive proteolysis and changes in pH packaging can improve shelf-life and sensory attrib-
and colour (Yang et al., 2014; Iulietto et al., 2015). utes of poultry meat.

Redukcija mikroflore u mariniranim filetima pilećih

grudi pakovanih u vakuum
Jelena Janjić, Jelena Ćirić, Slaven Grbić, Marija Bošković, Milica Glišić, Radmila Mitrović,
Adriana Radosavac, Milan Ž. Baltić
A p s t r a k t: Cilj ovog rada bio je da se utvrdi uticaj različitog načina mariniranja na mikrobiotu fileta grudi brojlera pakovanih
u vakuum i čuvanih pri 4°C. Ispitivane su tri vrste marinade. Ukupno 120 uzoraka (korišćenih za dva ponavljanja) marinirano je u
kontrolnom (6% NaCl) i tri različita tretmana: 6% NaCl i 2% natrijum tripolifosfat (E1), 6% NaCl i 2% natrijum citrat (E2) i rastvor
sa 6% NaCl, 1% natrijum tripolifosfata i 1% natrijum citrata (E3). Brojanje mikroorganizama vršeno je prvog dana (0 dan), 7., 14.,
21. i 28. dana skladištenja. Utvrđene su statistički značajne razlike (P<0,05) između mariniranih uzoraka u ukupnom broju mezofilnih
bakterija, Enterobacteriaceae, bakterijama mlečne kiseline i anaerobnim bakterijama. Utvrđeno je da je kombinacija 6% NaCl i 2%
natrijum citrata najprikladnija za redukciju rasta ispitivanih grupa bakterija u mariniranim filetima grudi brojlera pakovanih u vaku-
um i skladištenih pri 4°C.
Ključne reči: meso živine, rok trajanja, bakterije kvara, uslovi skladištenja.

Disclosure Statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Acknowledgement: This paper was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological De-
velopment, government of the Republic of Serbia, through the funding of the Project TR 31034.


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Paper received: 16.05.2019.

Paper corrected: 31.05.2019.
Paper accepted: 31.05.2019.